London: Laughing gas and all other legal highs will be illegal in Britain from Thursday.
What is the new legislation?
The Psychoactive Substances Act will introduce a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of legal highs which are intended for human consumption.
When does it come into force?
The ban will come into force on May 26, 2016.
It was supposed to come into force in early April but the start date was pushed back to make sure the authorities were ready.
Tough sentences of up to seven years for offenders and new powers for police are included in the Act.
Police will be able to shut down “headshops” – stores which sell drug paraphernalia – and online dealers in the UK.
They will also have powers to seize and destroy no-long-legal highs as well as carry out searches of people, premises and vehicles.
If a person is found to be in possession of a such a substance in jail they face a new prison sentence of up to two years.
What is psychoactive?
Psychoactive substances are substances that affect the mind – i.e. drugs
What are the exemptions?
The law excludes “legitimate substances” such as food, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and medical products.
Healthcare activities and scientific research are also exempt from the act – so long as the people that have engaged in the activities have a legitimate need to use the psychoactive substances in their work.
What about poppers?
The Government announced in March amyl nitrate – more commonly known as poppers – would not be included in the ban because they are not a “psychoactive” substance.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs told the Home Office said that amyl nitrite only produced slight effects on the brain and so would not be classed as a psychoactive substance.